The Egyptian capital of Cairo provides easy access to The Great Pyramids of Giza and the mysterious Sphinx as well as the priceless Tutankhamen collection.
Hurghada, on the Gulf of Suez, is Egypt’s link between the treasures at Luxor and Karnak and the Red Sea Riviera. The sand dunes and beaches at nearby Safaga are popular with sun worshippers and bathers alike, the warm waters being rich in skin-pampering salts and minerals. On the Gulf of Aqaba, the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh offers sandy beaches and some of the world’s best-preserved coral reefs, a perfect place for snorkelling, scuba diving or taking a trip in a glass-bottomed boat.
The Sinai Peninsula plays a major role in biblical stories with Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt across the Red Sea into the Sinai desert. Mount Sinai is thought to be where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. The impressively fortified 6th century St Catherine’s Monastery lies at the foot of the mountain on the holy site of the Burning Bush.
The water-sport and diving playground of Aqaba is the gateway to two spectacular sites in Jordan – Wadi Rum and Petra. A dramatic desert valley of wind-sculpted sandstone monoliths, Wadi Rum is the site of Lawrence of Arabia’s Bedouin encampments and was the backdrop to David Lean’s celebrated film.
Carved from solid rose-red stone, the ancient fortress city of Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Once a wealthy city at the heart of the Classical world, Petra then remained forgotten amid the Jordanian mountains for over 2,000 years.